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Side by Side (2012)



Average Rating: 7.6/10
Critic Reviews: 22
Fresh: 20 | Rotten: 2

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 4/5
User Ratings: 9,086

My Rating

Movie Info

Join Keanu Reeves on a tour of the past and the future of filmmaking in Side by Side. Since the invention of cinema, the standard format for recording moving images has been film. Over the past two decades, a new form of digital filmmaking has emerged, creating a groundbreaking evolution in the medium. Reeves explores the development of cinema and the impact of digital filmmaking via in-depth interviews with Hollywood masters, such as James Cameron, David Fincher, David Lynch, Martin Scorsese,


Documentary, Television

Christopher Kenneally

Feb 5, 2013


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All Critics (65) | Top Critics (22) | Fresh (60) | Rotten (5)

The documentary would have been that much better with a more explicit focus on why the average filmgoer should care.

September 10, 2013 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
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Keanu Reeves is a game frontman of this fact-filled, slightly chaotic doc about the rise of digital technology in film.

February 14, 2013 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
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A trim, informative 99-minute primer on celluloid film, which to many viewers has a warmth and feel as soothing as buttered popcorn, and the brave new world of digital cinema.

November 8, 2012 Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
Minneapolis Star Tribune
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It's this simple: If you like movies, you need to see "Side by Side."

September 27, 2012 Full Review Source: Arizona Republic
Arizona Republic
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Actors such as Robert Downey Jr. complain that because digital cameras can be reloaded in seconds, there is no time for performers to hang out in their trailers between takes (in protest, he urinated in jars, which he hid all over the sets of Zodiac).

September 23, 2012 Full Review Source: Miami Herald
Miami Herald
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There is great flux in this world, as Side by Side so entertainingly demonstrates, and where it's all headed is both discomforting and exhilarating. Stay tuned.

September 7, 2012 Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor
Christian Science Monitor
Top Critic IconTop Critic

...could have used more movie-specific discussions of the aesthetic implications of celluloid versus digital.

August 5, 2014 Full Review Source: LarsenOnFilm

Side By Side is a riveting, under-the-hood distillation of 100 years of Hollywood experimentation, innovation and expensive bravery.

March 13, 2013 Full Review Source: Birmingham Post
Birmingham Post

Keanu Reeves proves a surprisingly engaging host for this documentary inquiry into the ongoing transition from celluloid to digital filmmaking.

March 10, 2013 Full Review Source: Scotsman

Essential viewing for understanding different sides of one of the most vital current debates in cinema.

March 4, 2013 Full Review Source: Film4

At once a celebration of new technology and a lamentation of a passing one, Side by Side is oddly depressing to watch.

February 18, 2013 Full Review Source: The List
The List

It asks questions about culture and technology, the creation of a new sensibility, and whether we're looking at the debasement of values or a new democracy coming to the arts.

February 17, 2013 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

This is route-one stuff.No serious film enthusiast will, however, want to miss Side by Side.

February 15, 2013 Full Review Source: Irish Times
Irish Times

Maybe this geekily precise, Keanu Reeves-fronted documentary fretting over the death of celluloid needs to give digital its due.

February 14, 2013 Full Review Source: Guardian

It's sweet and sparkling, as glassfuls of thought are provided by James Cameron, Martin Scorsese, George Lucas, David Lynch, Steven Soderbergh and other champagne cinematic cerebra.

February 14, 2013 Full Review Source: Financial Times
Financial Times

A riveting, informative and extremely entertaining documentary about the digital vs celluloid debate that's a must-see for anyone interested in films and filmmaking.

February 14, 2013 Full Review Source: ViewLondon

Side by Side delves into areas too niche to entice the casual cinemagoer, but nevertheless this really is essential viewing for movie fans.

February 11, 2013 Full Review Source: Digital Spy
Digital Spy

With film labs closing down and new formats springing up all the time, this is a timely stock-take of 21st Century cinema.

January 21, 2013 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

The movie doesn't offer much consideration of digital video as an esthetic in its own right -- as something that is valuable because it is *distinctive* from film, rather than as a format that aspires to be *indistinguishable* from film.

November 16, 2012 Full Review Source: Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

Probing documentary on the history of film that's geared for techies, those in the film industry, geeks or film junkies.

October 24, 2012 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

This exhaustive documentary is one of the best films ever made about the filmmaking process.

September 27, 2012 Full Review Source: The Aristocrat
The Aristocrat

Audience Reviews for Side by Side

Side by Side explores the question of film's worth in an increasingly digital future. It all boils down to the simple fact that even if the format changes, the medium is only as good as the artist's ability to manipulate it to tell a story. Some filmmakers swear by film. Others by digital. But ultimately, it's the quality of the work that matters. A great documentary.
June 2, 2014

Super Reviewer

Insightful all the way through, "Side By Side" is a great documentary, filled with tons of well-known celebrities as they talk about their thoughts on the conversion from digital filmmaking and the future of the industry. There are times, although they are different opinions, that the same thing is repeated, because there is only so much you can have an opinion on about this. Let's face it, old-fashioned filmmaking, and things of the like, will inevitably die out within the next decade, and probably sooner. Most directors believe this to be the end of cinema, but I believe we are in a rut that will take a while to get out of, because we are having trouble finding the absolute best talent out there, or just settling for middle of the road. This was very interesting to watch, due to the classic directors speaking their minds on the matter, but truthfully, once they are gone, film will be dumber and dumber. So yes I am scared for the industry, because film has such a huge impact on society, but the world goes how it goes, and sometimes it is not controllable. To me, that is what this film's message really was. I really loved watching "Side By Side," and I highly recommend fans of any genre of film to watch this.
March 22, 2014
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

Film vs. Digital, a compelling question when put to some of the best film makers in the world today. There are good arguments from both parties and some interesting facts are revealed and many a misconception dispelled. It's a must for any film fan and/or wannabe film maker. It is great to see all these great directors speak passionately about their craft, it's a very tough question to answer it seems. Everyone agrees though, George Lucas is a bit of a dick.
September 6, 2013

Super Reviewer

Keanu Reeves brings together a boatload of Hollywood's finest to discuss the physical and ideological issues facing cinema. It may try to force too much information into too little time if you don't know about the history and technology of film, but this documentary romanticizes the art with such passion and finesse that it stands as a reaffirmation of the power of movies and the importance of understanding their history and possible future.
March 11, 2013
Sam Barnett

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Side by Side: The Science, Art and Impact of Digital Cinema (DE)
  • Side by Side (UK)
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